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Letting the Good Times Roll for the Daytona 500

by Dixie Haag | Posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Today’s Daytona 500 season opening NASCAR race falls on a cross-section of celebrations.  Not only does the racing season start (and that’s always a big deal), but this is the last weekend before Mardi Gras.  The carnival season is a long post-Christmas celebration for us full of food, decorations and drinks.  It all ends Tuesday night since Ash Wednesday is coming, so these are our last few days of debauchery.  In honor of that cross over, I’m making a pot of gumbo, some faux muffuletta sandwiches and a king cake for our race watching enjoyment.  We will definitely sneak in a few shots, too. . .King Cake shots and jello shots, to be exact.  It’s also February 14, Valentine’s Day.  Now, that’s not usually such a big deal for us. . .I mean, we don’t really need a holiday to remind us to cherish those we love, but there will be some heart shaped cakes in honor of Saint Valentine. We are also getting some crazy northern weather down here in Texas, so this warm spread will be comforting as we watch the race indoors instead of outside on the patio.  Whatever you choose to eat and drink as you tailgate and spectate, do it with gusto.  It’s the Daytona 500, so you have to go big or go home!  I guess in our case, go big AT home! And. . .Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler. . .or let the good times roll!

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

1/2 c. oil

1 c. flour

2 bags Pictsweet Seasoning

4 cloves minced garlic

40 oz. bag frozen sliced okra

6 c. water (divided)

2 cans petite diced tomatoes

2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce

3 T. Kitchen Bouquet

5 bay leaves

2 T salt

Tony Chacere’s Original Creole Seasoning to taste

2 lbs. shrimp, deveined and shelled

2 lbs. link sausage, sliced into rounds

Heat vegetable oil in a large stock pot on medium heat.  Add Pictsweet seasoning, garlic and okra.  Cook on medium heat about 25 minutes (mixture will be slimy).  Add flour and 2 cups water.  Stir well and make sure all flour is dissolved.  Add the rest of the water, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, bay leaves, salt and Creole seasoning.  Bring to a boil.  let boil for 15 minutes, stirring often.  Put on low heat for about 45 minutes.  Add shrimp and sausage and cook for at least another hour.


Faux Mini Muffuletta Sandwiches


Boscoli Family Italian Olive Salad

Olive Oil

Genoa salami

Mortadella Ham with pistachios


Provolone cheeese

Cut the rolls in half, brush each side with some olive oil.  Add olive salad to both sides.  Layer both sides with cheese, ham, salami, mortadella and one extra cheese slice for the middle.  Place the top back on to make a nice thick sandwich.  Press down to flatten a bit.  Wrap the sandwiches in foil.  These taste better when they sit for a bit before eating.  When ready to eat, heat the sandwiches on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.


Quick and Easy King Cake

2 9 oz. refrigerated cinnamon rolls

colored sugar (green, yellow, purple)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll each cinnamon roll to make 16 individual strips.  Start braiding with 3 strips adding more cinnamon roll pieces when needed to make on long braid.  When you finish braiding all the cinnamon rolls, form braid into circle or oval and back for about 15 minutes.  Drizzle with glaze and decorate with colored sugar.


Heart Shaped Cakes: Mudslide Cake and Strawberry Daquiri Cake

15 oz yellow cake mix, prepared (with alterations)

6 t. cocoa powder, divided

6 t. Kahlua, divided

6 T. strawberry jam, divided

6 t. rum, divided

1 can frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the cake pans.  Prepare the cake mix as directed, or for a more decadent experience add one extra egg, use melted butter (double the amount) instead of oil,  and milk instead of water. Divide the cake batter into two bowls. 

For the mudslide cake: Add 3 t. cocoa to one bowl of batter and whisk.

For the strawberry daquiri cake: Add 3 T. of stawberry jam to the other bowl of batter and whisk.

Pour each batter into the prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes (refer to cake directions). Remove the cakes from the oven and poke each one with a toothpick all over the surface.

For the mudslide cake: Brush the tops of the cakes with 3 t. of Kahlua.

For the strawberry daquiri cake: Brush with 3 t. of rum.

Divide the frosting into two bowls.  

For the mudslide cake: Add 3 t. cocoa powder and 3 t. Kahlua.  Stir and frost the cake.

For the strawberry daquiri cake: Add 3 T of strawberry jam and 3 t. rum.  Stir and frost the cake.


King Cake Shots

1 part Rumchata

1 part Fireball Whiskey

Prepare shot glasses by using icing to rim and dipping in colored sugar. Mix Rumchata and Fireball over ice and strain into shot glass.


Jello Shots

1 3 oz. package jello

1 c. boiling water

1 c. vodka

Place jello in bowl.  Add  boiling water.  Whisk until dissolved.  Add vodka and whisk until thoroughly blended.  pour into plastic portion cups on a cookie sheet.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


About the Author

Dixie Haag is married to Mike Haag. She is a mother to two fantastic young people and a life-long educator.